GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Knicks found themselves a topic of lively discussion Thursday, thanks to a player who has been mostly silent of late: Kevin Durant.
After uncharacteristically going more than a week without speaking to the media, Durant made it clear Wednesday night that he is not happy with everyone’s assumption that the Knicks’ recent trade of Kristaps Porzingis means he is headed to New York.
“I have nothing to do with the Knicks,” Durant said. “I don’t know who traded [Kristaps] Porzingis. That got nothing to do with me. I’m trying to play basketball.”
Knicks coach David Fizdale said he heard about Durant’s comments but did not see them. He said he understands that free agency is fun for fans, but at the same time, he said the rumors can be hard on players.
“Free agency sparks a lot of stories and assumptions and hypotheticals. I guess that part is fun for people. It’s never easy on players and teams,” he said. “I understand both sides of it. It’s a tough business that way because you just want to be focused on your craft and the guys you have in the gym working and your teammates.
“There’s a lot of hypothetical situations thrown out there at guys. You know, misnomers and assumptions and things like that . . . That can become frustrating sometimes because no matter what, we still have to have our media obligations and continue to talk about it. I can see where it can wear on a guy.”
It certainly appears to be wearing on Durant.
The Knicks’ trade was a controversial move on its own merits, but the immediate fallout was a notion around the NBA that in creating enough salary- cap room with the deal to chase two max-salary free agents this summer, the Knicks already were certain that Durant and Kyrie Irving — or your choice of top free agents — were on the way to New York.
Durant’s silence stood in contrast with the reaction of Irving, who told reporters the day after the Porzingis trade that he was backing off his promise to stay in Boston long term.
Durant, on Wednesday night, let it be known that he doesn’t even want to have to address the issue.
“Y’all come in here every day, ask me about free agency, ask my teammates, my coaches, rile up the fans about it,” he said. “Let us play basketball. That’s all I’m saying.
“Now when I don’t want to talk to y’all, it’s a problem with me. C’mon, man. Grow up. Grow up . . . I come in here and go to work every day. I don’t cause no problems. I play the right way. Well, I try to play the right way. I try to be the best player I can be every possession. What’s the problem? What am I doing to y’all?”